In a new interview with Guitar World magazine, Nikki Sixx spoke about MÖTLEY CRÜE's decision to hire John 5 to replace Mick Mars, the group's founding guitarist, who announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE last October as a result of worsening health issues.
"We never saw it coming that Mick wasn't going to be able to tour and was going to have to quit the band," Nikki explained. "In the middle — not even the middle — of a huge tour, we had to ask ourselves, 'Do we want to let the fans down? Do we want to let [concert promoters] Live Nation down? Do we want to let [tourmates] DEF LEPPARD down? Do we want to let ourselves down because an original member of our band can't tour anymore?' We had to have a deep, deep look into what we were going to do."
Sixx went on to say that John 5 was the obvious choice to step in for Mars in MÖTLEY CRÜE. He added: "[With John] knowing all the members of the band, and me having this relationship with him writing and as friends, and even being in the studio with him writing stuff with the band for [the soundtrack to] 'The Dirt', it felt like a no-brainer in a horrible situation something we did not ask for or want. And then it was just kind of obvious. If there was 'the guy', John was the guy. Like I said, we didn’t choose this, but since we had to be put in this position, we're very happy with where we're at right now."
When Mars announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE, he maintained that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road. However, he has since filed a lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE in Los Angeles County's Superior Court, claiming that, after his announcement, the rest of CRÜE tried to remove him as a significant stakeholder in the group's corporation and business holdings via a shareholders' meeting. In his lawsuit, Mars also alleged that he was the only bandmember to play 100 percent live on their most recent tour, claiming bassist Nikki Sixx "did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour."
Mars said that when he refused to sign the papers reducing his share of touring royalties to only 5%, the band commenced an arbitration. His original filing said the group took it to arbitration "rather than a public lawsuit so that the public would not be aware of the deplorable manner in which they treated their 'brother' of 41 years."
Mars suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS),a chronic and inflammatory form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis. After years of performing through the pain, he informed the other members of MÖTLEY CRÜE last summer that he could no longer tour with them but would still be open to recording new music or performing at residencies that did not require much travel.
Mars — whose real name is Robert Alan Deal — served as MÖTLEY CRÜE's lead guitarist since the band's inception in 1981.
Two months ago, MÖTLEY CRÜE filed new legal paperwork asking a judge to send the band's dispute with Mars into arbitration, where CRÜE's attorneys say it belongs. In the filing, the attorneys say several different entities have been created over the years to handle varying aspects of the band's business affairs, including touring and recording, and those agreements contain binding arbitration clauses. Therefore, they argue that all grievances that might come up among members must be handled in private arbitration, instead of airing them out in public courts. CRÜE is also asking the court to strike several statements Mick made in his suit, particularly provocative assertions about ex-bandmates that include claims of substance abuse and physical violence which they call totally irrelevant to Mick's case. They believe he included them purely "for purposes of character assassination."
In response to MÖTLEY CRÜE's latest filing, Mick's lawyer, Ed McPherson, told TMZ: "This is yet another attempt by bullies to hide the truth!"